Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Commemoration of St. Agnes on January 28th

Commemoration (1954 Calendar): January 28

Besides being the traditional Feast of St. Peter Nolasco, January 28 in the Universal Calendar of the 1962 Calendar mentions a "Commemoration of St. Agnes."  This is indeed the same St. Agnes who is celebrated just days before on January 21st in the Universal Calendar.  Why has the Church in Her wisdom placed a commemoration of this saint 8 days thereafter?

This is an ancient feastday.  According to Rev. Alban Butler's The Lives of the Saints in 1866, "A second Commemoration of St. Agnes occurs on this day in the ancient Sacramentaries of Pope Gelasius and St. Gregory the Great; as also in the true Martyrology of Bede." It was kept on the Church's Calendar for centuries on January 28 and only reduced to a Commemoration in 1931. It was previously known as Sanctae Agnetis secundo (St. Agnes for a 2nd Time).

And we should not underestimate the importance of St. Agnes, who is mentioned in the Roman Canon.  As St. Jerome writes: "All nations, especially their Christian communities, praise in word and writing the life of St. Agnes. She triumphed over her tender age as well as over the merciless tyrant. To the crown of spotless innocence she added the glory of martyrdom."  It would thus seem fitting that her life would be honored in a very special way by the Church.

But the 8th day after her death was quite a special one indeed.  It was eight days after her death that St. Agnes appeared to her parents with a train of virgins and a lamb at her side.

As stated in the Pictural Lives of the Saints: "A week after her death, Saint Agnes appeared to her parents as they were praying at her tomb; she was amid a choir of virgins clothed in golden robes and crowned with garlands. She begged them not to weep for her as for one dead, telling them rather to rejoice with her in her happiness" (Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 1)

And so, may we never forget this Commemoration of St. Agnes.  Let us pray for her intercession and especially remember to pray for the conversion of our family and friends and especially let us honor the 4th Commandment and pray for the spiritual needs of our parents.

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